Bad skin reaction to all moisturisers and medicated creams

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Bad skin reaction to all moisturisers and medicated creams

Posted by Ivor on 30th April 2012 07:04PM

I've had psoriasis for about 10 years now, but it was very manageable until a year ago, when it spread from my scalp to everywhere on my body except my face, hands and feet..

My scalp psoriasis is controlled by Dovobet (calcipotriol) gel. I have a few spots here and there on my arms and about 80% of my lower legs are covered, although these are both controlled well by Dovonex (calcipotriol) ointment. Psoriasis in my groin and anus is controlled well by Trimovate cream.

My biggest problem over the last year has been my torso. From my neck down to the middle of my bum, I have 100% psoriasis coverage on front, back and sides. When I say ‘100% coverage’, I mean that the psoriasis covers the whole of the area, rather than appearing in small plaques with healthy skin in between – so basically I do not have any healthy skin on my torso whatsoever. I started on methotrexate almost a year ago, but even doses of 20mg (maximum for my body weight) did not have any effect. I have just switched to ciclosporin (100mg). Whilst I’ve been waiting for these drugs to kick in, my consultant has prescribed many moisturisers and medicated creams for my torso, but I seem to have incredibly sensitive skin! The moisturisers/medicated creams sooth the skin for the first couple of days, but then my scales fall off, the skin turns bright red, and it quite literally doesn’t stop itching. It feels like my entire torso is being violently tickled/burned, and scratching only soothes it for a couple of seconds. It got so bad on some days last year that I had to take days off work. The moisturisers/medicated creams I’ve tried are as follows, but they all result in the same horrific reaction:

Medicated creams
- Dovobet (calcipotriol)
- Curatoderm (tacalcitol)
- Betnovate
- Unguentum M
- Xamiol (calcipotriol gel)

Moisturisers
- Diprobase
- Aveeno
- Doublebase
- Balneum Plus cream
- E45 cream
- E45 Itch Remedy
- Vaseline
- Cetraben

So for the past few months (after trying the aforementioned moisturisers/ointments) I have not actually been putting anything on my torso, aside from Balneum Plus bath oil in the shower (which doesn’t dry out the skin like normal soap, but isn’t all that helpful after I get out of the shower) and Eurax Itch Remedy Lotion as and when required, which soothes itching for a few hours (but has the rather unfortunate side effect of drying out the skin). Therefore, my torso skin is incredibly dry, flaky (my flat looks like a sand pit and there is a trail of flakes everywhere I’ve been) and worst of all it’s very, very itchy, sore and painful (although not to the extreme as when I used the creams listed above). I’ve tried to take antihistamines (Loratidine and certrizine hydrochloride) and hydroxyzine tablets to help with the itching, but they don’t seem to help.

The psoriasis on my torso seems to be getting itchier and drier every day, whilst leaving me more and more desperate and hopeless. If anyone else has a sensitivity to all moisturisers/medicated treatments, I’d really appreciate if you could let me know how you cope with your dry, itchy and sore skin.

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  • Sorry to read you're having such a miserable…

    Posted by saintsfan on 1st May 2012 12:05PM

    Sorry to read you're having such a miserable time of it.

    One quick point - Dovobet also contains a strong steroid. This can cause rebound problems if stopped suddenly. It is best to stop using it gradually eg using it at weekends only and something else during the week, rather than simply stop abruptly.

    A couple of other emollients are Hydromol ointment and Aquamol. Neither appear to contain lanolin which can be an irritant in itself even though it is found in many emollients. Hydromol is also good for shaving with and can be used instead of soap products.

    A good old fashioned treatment I find very helpful (particularly after a Dovobet rebound similar to the symptoms you describe) is taking a salt bath every day. It isn't cheap but you can buy dead sea salt (about £6 per kilo) from health shops. I try and make a bag last about 5 baths and have a quick shower afterwards to remove the salt. You could always use as much salt as you want depending on severity of symptoms. Patting yourself with a towel rather than rubbing also helps as it does not irritate the skin so much. It is time consuming as it's best to stay in the bath 15-20 minutes but I find it helps reduce the redness/soreness and can notice a difference within a few days of not having a bath.Some years ago I went on a scuba diving holiday and hours in a wet suit with salt water trapped next to my skin worked wonders. And it wasn't the sun - it was a wet week in Cornwall!

    I'm sure plenty of other people have their own food suggestions but as a start alcohol and spicy food can increase red inflammation. After extensive research (!) beer, red wine and spirits are worst, with white and sparkling wine the least irritating. The more simple the food, the happier my skin is.

    Hope you start to find some relief soon. The pain of psoriasis is something often under appreciated by our medical colleagues.

  • Hi - I too have had bad experiences…

    Posted by cwellfare on 29th October 2012 03:10PM

    Hi - I too have had bad experiences with creams and topical treatments - It's worth pushing for a patch test, as I now know I'm slightly allergic to Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol and any variation of those 3 words, which is present in pretty much ALL creams. You seem to been using ointments which will help, as ointments do not contain this chemical, but check all products you use in your bath / shower / hair wash, as most will have it in !!! I found Sanex 100% kind to sensitive skin bath liquid is wonderful !!! I use it not only in the bath, but in the shower and to wash my hair !!! Just be careful if you need conditioner as, surprise surprise, it has that horrid chemical in it !!!!

    I went through topical creams including steriod (Dovobet I find good in LITTLE amounts.... too much thins the skin and I find it actually flares my condition more often than not). PUVA didn't help. Ciclosporin was WONDERFUL, but my kidney count went up, so I had to come off it.... it's the only thing that cleared it totally, BUT it came back worse after the treatment finished :-( Methotrexate was okay, but didn't clear it..... helped the Psoriatic Arthritus though, so I can recommend it for that. I've been on Adelimimab (something like that)... otherwise known as Humira injections for a good while now..... if you're struggling with standard 'topical' treatments, it's worth asking about them, but you have to have gone through all the light & tablet treatements first as the Humira is exceedingly expensive (approx £7,000 per annum!!)

    The latest ointment I've tried..... and believe me I've tried most things !!!..... is pure emu oil.... it softens the skin and calms it down. I'm trying to get some more at the moment from a supplier called "Petries UK" and can highly recommend it. It's not invasive and, as it's totally natural, shouldn't (to my knowledge) work against anything you're taking, but check with your medical contact first.

    good luck

  • You poor thing, it sounds like you're having…

    Posted by SamFos on 28th January 2013 10:01AM

    You poor thing, it sounds like you're having a tough time.
    Like saintsfan, I use dead sea salt in the bath which I find helps. I've also been through a lot of the chemical creams which have often worked for a short while, then suddenly stop working. I don't know why. Sometimes, when I go back to them after a long break, they can be effective again, but it's a bit hit and miss.
    I love cwellfare's suggestion about emu oil - I think I may look that up.
    I'm now using natural treatments as I find them a lot gentler

  • I think I got cut off in mid-post…

    Posted by SamFos on 28th January 2013 10:01AM

    I think I got cut off in mid-post by my computer!
    As I was saying, I'm finding natural treatments a lot gentler, and so far they seem to be doing the trick - Katharine Bontanicals is a nice range, and doesn't have anything in it, but I think there are quite a few other ones out there too.
    Otherwise, I'm a fan of light treatment, although at the moment that's a bit in short supply.
    Good luck.

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